“Sir, you dropped your prostate”

These are just a few of the funny things that happened this weekend as neighbor bee Cindy and her hubs, Mark, traveled with Mr. Bee and me to Canton, Texas.  The first weekend of every month, vendors of all kinds set up their wares on miles upon miles of space in this sleepy little town. 

As I was brushing my teeth the night before (many a great idea is developed from me being in the shower or brushing my teeth), I was trying to think of a way to make this field trip engaging.  I came up with the idea to have a boys vs. girls scavenger hunt.  I briefed the group over pancakes at Cracker Barrell and upon arrival in Canton off we went.

When you found the item, you had to photograph it for proof.  We had two hours to find the items then meet back up for lunch to see who had won.

1.  An orange bowl or cup

Thanks Tupperware
2.  A Cigar Store Indian
Cindy and I spotted this as soon as we entered the grounds. 
We thought for sure the boys wouldn’t see it.
Ironically, this was the first item that popped into my head while flossing. 
Apparently, they saw it too because it was the same exact photo.
3.  An oil can
The lady with one tooth remaining in her mouth said she just sold item #4, the bird cage…
#5 A Stop Sign

I had to be pretty clear with the boys that this had to be a sign for sale, not on a pole. Note:  The people in the photo were negotiating with the seller to buy ALL their mermaid decor.  Maybe they were thinking about opening a Red Lobster.

Next to last on the list, #6 a fire hydrant.  Cindy and I cheated on this one.  We said it had to be an non-working fire hydrant for sale.  Since Mr. Bee and Mark never read my blog, we’ll never be exposed.  It was a real one.  Cindy suggested we photograph it with the crap leaning against it to make it look like an antique.


Ended up we tied the game.  #7 on the list, Cotton Candy, which I thought would be plentiful in this land of trash to treasure was no where to be found.  I should have put batter dipped grilled cheese sandwiches on the list, because they were everywhere.
Along the way I did spot this treasure that I wish I purchased for my office at work…I could have put it on my desk.

We lasted until about 3 p.m., then we had to leave because our internal organs were melting.  Oh, here’s the part about the man’s prostate…

Cindy and I were walking along and a man walked in front of us with his purchase.  I noticed that the price tag fell off.  I said to Cindy, “That man’s price tag just fell off, I wonder if we should tell him?”  Cindy got this real worried look on her face and starting looking all over the ground.  I’m like “what are you doing?”  She said, “I thought you said that man’s prostate just fell out on the ground, and I was looking to see where it was!”  Oh, my gosh.  We laughed for about an hour.  I finally said, “honey, if his prostate had fallen out, I think he would have known it.”  I can just see me calling 911 and asking Cindy to “secure the prostate” until medical personnel can arrive on the scene.

There was a lady that was chit chatting with friends and her arm looked like it had just been bitten by a shark.  Cindy tried to describe it to me, because I missed it. 

Sweating and shopping can be fun.

Host Parties With A Punch

I was in Pottery Barn recently and they had so many cute things out for Summer.  I love this time of the year for entertaining outside, until it gets 110 degrees, then not so much.   Here are my three things you need to host a fab party this season…
First, a good cocktail book.  I picked up this fun one as a wedding gift for a co-worker.

Punch Parties by Ben Reed shares all sorts of drink ideas.  Whether it’s a cool Cosmopolitan Punch, a sophisticated Sangria Blanco or a tangy Mojito, there is nothing like a beautifully prepared drink to add flavor and festivity to any social occasion – or to provide a reason to celebrate!   And with a large selection of non-alcoholic refreshers and tasty light bites to serve alongside, award-winning mixologist Ben Reed has created the perfect guide to hosting a truly unforgettable occasion.

Second, you need a stylish dispenser for serving the drinks.  They are everywhere in retail right now.  I have four in my party pantry.  Line them all up on a serving table with lemonade, iced tea, sangria and margaritas.  Something for everyone.

Last, I love these chalk board tags from Pottery Barn

Don’t just use them for dispensers (which is how they’re marketed at PB), use them to label your cheeses on a cheese board, hang on your front door to let your guests know the party is around back, or hang on a wine bottle with a sentiment as a hostess gift.  The possibilities are endless.

One day soon I will show you my own party pantry and the essentials every good hostess should have on hand.  Cheers!

What’s in my Lunchbox — Heirloom Recipes

Sporting my Martha Stewart lunchbox today, I love it when I have a good lunch to eat.  Since I work such abbreviated hours, I usually have a working lunch at my desk.  Today I brought left overs from Easter weekend.

The focus today is on the Paula Deen Blueberry Jello Salad and Julia’s Vermicelli Salad.    We served these at our Easter picnic on Saturday when we dyed eggs.
The jello recipe I tore out of a magazine before Paula Deen became a household word.  It is so yummy and a great dish to take to a friend or potluck.  You could easily make it into several smaller salads, or in my case I just made it in a 9×13 glass dish.
Boil 2 cups of water
Pour into a large mixing bowl then add:
1 20-oz can of crushed pineapple (drained)
2, 3-oz boxes of black cherry jello (I use sugar free and you can’t tell the difference)
1 can blueberry pie filling
Mix all together then pour into your preferred size dish.  Let set in refrigerator for 2 hours.  Meanwhile, mix together one 8-oz package of soften cream cheese, 8-oz of sour cream and 1/2 cup of sugar.  Spread onto the set jello and refrigerate another two hours or overnight. Garnish with mint or fruit.
The second recipe is from 90-years young Julia Johnson.  My childhood friend. 
Julia is an amazing cook.  I first tasted this vermicelli salad on a vacation when I was little.  Julia and her husband, Jimmy, went with me, Earnie and Daddy in the motorhome for a cross-country trip to Virginia and the Carolinas.  Earnie said Julia came over one day to measure the refrigerator in the motor-home so she would know exactly how much food to prepare and how to package it.  That might have been the summer when my waist line started to expand.
You have to do some planning with this recipe.  You make it the night before and there’s lots of chopping.

Cook one package of vermicelli pasta noodles (or really any type pasta you like.  Bow-tie might be nice)
Pour off water but do not rinse.

After pasta has cooled put it into a large plastic container with a lid.  Add 2 TBL of olive or canola oil and 2 TBL fresh lemon juice (not from a bottle), and 1 tsp of Accent seasoning.  Shake tub and mix well.  Refrigerate over night.

Next day to the pasta add one can of chopped green olives, one can of chopped black olives, one chopped onion, one chopped bell pepper, and one cup of chopped celery.  After you’ve mixed in the vegetables, add 2 TBL of mayonnaise and 2 TBL italian dressing.  Mix well and put back in the refrigerator for a few hours.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  This is one of those recipes that tastes better with age.  I usually double it so I have some left over to eat all week.

I am trying to go through Earnie’s recipes to find one that I liked growing up.  I want it in her pretty handwriting she had before her stroke affected her ability to write.  I plan to frame a few and display them in my kitchen.  Aren’t some of your fondest memories watching your mother cook?

Lunch with Church Lady and Mrs. Schumacher

Last year after we lost Daddy, my church lady friend, Kristi (also known as Mrs. Burdette’s Egg Casserole) invited me, Mr. Bee, Miss Bee and Earnie to celebrate the day with their family and the Schumacher quints.  This is the famous Chocolate Dipped Pretzel dipped Schumachers.  It was so comforting to go and spend the day with them.

We behaved so nicely that she invited us back for the 2nd annual Burdette/Gode/Schumacher Easterfeast 2012.  There’s always ham because Grandma can’t have Easter without it.

And a pile of other food like grits (what Southern household would it be if there wasn’t a grits casserole), pasta salad (this is going to be featured in the Heirloom recipes blog entry later this week), fresh tomatoes, corn casserole, fruit, mini quiches, rolls, and of course chocolate sheet cake, cupcakes, cake balls and Mrs. Schumacher’s pretzels.

Each family has beautiful, intelligent and kind children that you actually like to sit around the table with and engage in conversation.  As an added bonus we got to be involved in Amy and Andy’s science fair projects — “The Tea Party” which tested our abilities to detect if the tea was sweetened with Agave, Splenda or regular sugar (I guessed wrong) and in exam room B. Andy’s test of “Are you for Real?” of guessing whether someone is giving a genuine smile or faking it.  After we left I wondered if the real reason for inviting us was because they needed test subjects.

God has blessed our family in so many ways.  He’s given us a treasured church family of loving, Christian people to grow old with.  If I live to be 80, then I will be spending Easter at the Burdette’s (or their assisted living facility) up until 2044.  I wonder if ham will still exist in the 2040’s?

Scenes from an Easter’s Eve — Caution Peeps and Fire are involved

Family came over tonight to eat an Easter picnic and to dye eggs.  I am going to make an entry another day to share the “heirloom” recipes we had for our picnic today.  But, here are some pics of the eggs we dyed.  See an earlier post about using food coloring for your egg dye.  We also got out the Martha Stewart glitter to bling up Miss Bee’s eggs.

Sister Bee brought each of us a homemade Easter basket made with a plastic drinking cup.  She tucked jelly beans inside with a tiny pink fuzzy chick.  So cute.

Then, we moved into the s’more making station.  I have to admit I took a slight pleasure in roasting my peep over the fire.

I highly recommend peeps on your s’more next time.  The slight crunch of the sugary coating and the hint of yellow made for a very delish dessert.

Happy Easter!

Cinnamon Roll Saturday

This past Saturday, I took Miss Bee to Ginger Brown’s diner in Lake Worth.  It was a cold, rainy day and the perfect conditions for comfort food.  Each meal comes with their famous homemade cinnamon rolls.  The chatty older couple next to us shared their cinnamon rolls with us (you see, she has diabetes and can’t eat them).  Plus, while we were waiting to be seated we did their “text us and we’ll give you a coupon for a free cinnamon roll” incentive.  So, we left with six of these bad boys…

We missed the “cinnamon roll happy hour”.  During non-peak times of the day, if you purchase nine cinnamon rolls you get nine free.  Perfect for a sleepover!

Are you like me and savor the center of the cinnamon roll for last?

RIP Stir ‘n Frost

Three fun things at work today…first it’s my favorite day of the week Friday, second we had cake at 10:30 a.m. for one of our student workers for her birthday (no, I didn’t eat any because of my Lenten sacrifice, but it was okay because it was chocolate), and third, I have a chicken salad sandwich from my favorite place, McKinley’s, for lunch.

During our snack time this morning, I had another realization that I am old enough to be the mother of the girls I work with.  None of them remembered Stir ‘n Frost cake mix.  How tragic.  They looked puzzled as I tried to explain how it came with its own pan and two packets — one for the cake mix and one with ready made frosting.  Bake and eat from the same pan!  Genious.

So, I did a little research and here’s what I found..

“Next time when a big cake is more than you need, pick up a Stir ‘n Frost!”  They hit the market in 1978.  I ate many of these during sleepovers.  The moms would buy each girl their own cake and we’d bake them and eat them — the entire thing — warm out of the oven.  This was comfort food when the friend got dumped by her long-time (2 weeks) boyfriend over the blue rotary phone.  “I’m sorry, boy this stinks. Want to make a cake?”
Not sure what happened to them.  I guess they learned the foil lining caused cancer (kinda like the caramel color in Coke and Pepsi).  Now, they’ve been replaced with a microwave version called “Warm Delights.”  I’ll just hold on to my memories of Stir ‘n Frost.  I miss you girl.

Party Like a 90-Year Old

me-and-juliaI had the greatest pleasure on Saturday to attend the 90th birthday party of my dear friend, Julia Johnson.  She and Earnie have known each other for almost 60 years.  They raised their children together, and buried their beloved husbands together.  Julia moved to Dallas several years ago, making it difficult to see each other.  When I saw her Sunday, I just couldn’t stop touching her.  She hadn’t changed a bit, other than to shrink in size to the cutest little lady I just want to put in my pocket.

julia-and-motherHere she is with Earnie before Julia blew out the candles on her birthday cake…

Also at the party, my high school English teacher — Mrs. Dyer.  She shared she is 86!  I guess eating lots of home-grown vegetables growing up is the secret, because neither of these gals has aged at all. Now that I am grown up, I get to call her Jean, oh yea!

Julia’s granddaughter, Emily, had everyone send a note to Julia to put into an album.  She received over 90 of the most beautiful, heartfelt notes from relatives and friends.  It’s a good thing I wasn’t around when Mrs. Dyer read mine because she would probably have whipped out her red ball point pen and graded it.

julia-me-and-the-ice-creamThis is what I remember about my dear, sweet Julia…

• Root Beer Floats – She always had ice cream out in the freezer. I could count on an icy-cold float each time I visited regardless of the weather.

• Riding her three-wheeled bicycle up and down the street.

• A delivery of fresh Christmas tree cookies in a tin. Julia eventually caught on that once Daddy got a hold of the tin there weren’t many left for me. So, she started giving me my own tin of cookies. Not a Christmas goes by that I still don’t make those cookies. They don’t taste quite like hers, but Phoebe now has the tradition that these cookies are a must at Christmas.  After talking with all her gorgeous grandchildren at the party, the Christmas tree cookies are famous to them too.

• Playing poker – we didn’t ever play the game, but I spent hours at the round coffee table playing with her dispenser of poker chips.

• My love of toile I think started with being fascinated by the toile wallpaper in her dining room. I loved to just sit and stare at it and imagine myself in the story displayed. To this day, I still have a touch of toile in every home I’ve owned.

• Sitting on the backporch with Julia shelling pecans, talking about life. I shared how nervous I was to be starting high school with the big kids and she reassured me I would be fine.

• Eating her pineapple chess pie… and all her good cooking. Julia cooked a lot of meals in that small kitchen on Carl Street.

• Running errands in her small car. Sometimes we’d even go to the public pool.

• I loved sitting in her husband Jimmy’s big reclining chair. He usually was at work, but the few times he was home I enjoyed getting to sit on his lap.

It’s amazing the positive influence a grown up can have on a child.  I hope I can learn by her example to grow up to be as kind as she has been to everyone in her life.  Happy Birthday, Julia!

Praline Grahams

Made a batch of these Praline Grahams for Sister Bee’s spring open house with her Thirty One Business and other vendors.  I have had this Southern Living recipe for years and it’s very easy.  It’s the perfect sweet with coffee or for a wine and cheese party.  Enjoy!

Praline Grahams

12 whole graham crackers any flavor — regular, cinnamon or chocolate
3/4 cup of margarine (the syrup seems to spread better using margarine, but when I don’t have it I substitute with butter.  I actually like butter taste better).
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup chopped pecans

I have doubled this recipe using almost two packages of graham crackers, 1 cup sugar and 3 sticks of margarine.  Works fine.

Break graham crackers in half into squares.  Arrange on a cookie sheet with sides.  Melt margarine in a saucepan over medium heat, stir in sugar and chopped pecans.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat,  Working quickly, spread syrupy mixture evenly over graham crackers in the pan.  Bake at 300 for 12 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool.  Makes 2 dozen.

Martha made my lunch — It’s a Good Thing

Recently, out to dinner with friends, we shared if money were no concern, what personal luxury would we indulge in on a regular basis.  Most of us said having a personal chef.

I can’t help myself when I go to Macy’s and see how they have merchandised the Martha Stewart line of home products.  Especially her food storage containers.  I upgraded recently to a monogrammed lunch box courtesy of Sister Bee’s Thirty One business.  So, I decided it was time to trade in the Gladware plastic tubs where the lids don’t fit anymore.

Martha made my yogurt parfait this morning and packaged it in this cute little divided cup.  It has a container on the bottom for your yogurt and on top your granola or fruit and a spoon.

Then, she packaged my lunch in this cute four piece lunch to go kit.  A place on the bottom for your sandwich, with little grooves to hold the included ice pack.  Two little containers with lids fit on top of that and a snap-on cover goes over all of it.  It fit perfectly in my lunch tote.  Unfortunately, it’s sold out on-line, but Macy’s still had some in stores.  It would make the perfect gift.
The other thing I would love to have is her salad to go kit.  Great for preventing your salad greens from getting soggy.
Who wouldn’t eat more healthy if we had these fashionable containers to tote to work?